Kurt Schwitters: Merz is a major new retrospective exhibition at Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich that builds and expands on the gallery’s five decade long exhibition history with the artist, bringing together a selection of seventy works across all media. These include key works of each period, some of which have been especially loaned from significant collections.
Kurt Schwitters: Merz is to be presented in a fully transformed gallery space designed by the late Pritzker Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid. This collaboration results from the idea of an architectural homage by Zaha Hadid to the famous “Merz Bau” of Kurt Schwitters. Having successfully realized a similar project seven years ago, where Hadid transformed Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich into a Suprematist space in reference to Kasimir Malevich, this collaborative project pays tribute to the second important artistic influence on Hadid’s work – Kurt Schwitters.
Since Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich is in the same building complex that once housed the famous Galerie Dada run by artists Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball, and with Zurich celebrating 100 years of DADA this year, this retrospective is both overdue and extremely timely. The exhibition will be realized in curatorial collaboration with Adrian Notz, the director of Cabaret Voltaire where the DADA movement originated in 1916 and one of the main locations of this year’s centennial festivities. Adrian Notz will create sections devoted to archival documents covering Schwitters’s important ventures into poetry, theatre, stage design and sound which complement and further contextualize his unique visual praxis.
The retrospective will also shine a light on Kurt Schwitters’s significant influence on a whole range of artistic generations succeeding him – from David Bowie to Damien Hirst – or as the renowned curator Norman Rosenthal put it: “there is no artist working today that has not been influenced by Kurt Schwitters”.
Kurt Schwitters: Merz will be accompanied by an extensive in-depth publication of more than 250 pages with previously unpublished archival material and newly commissioned writings by the former Museum Ludwig director Siegfried Gohr; Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects; Peter Bissegger, who recreated the Merzbau for Szeemann’s Gesamtkunstwerk show; Cabaret Voltaire director Adrian Notz; art historian Jonathan Fineberg, University of California – Irvine; and Norman Rosenthal.
The gallery actively supports the conservation and legacy of Schwitters’s art as a major donor to the Littoral Arts Trust’s effort in restoring the artist’s damaged Merzbarn in Elterwater, England.
Kurt Scwitters: MERZ: June 12th to September 30th 2016 Galerie Gmurzynska Paradeplatz 2 8001 Zurich